Champions League the norm for Celtic, says Kristoffer Ajer

By Amy MacBeathBBC Sport Scotland
Kristoffer Ajer
Kristoffer Ajer has become a big part of Brendan Rodgers' plans at Celtic

Kristoffer Ajer says playing for Celtic comes with an expectation of Champions League football.

Celtic face AEK Athens in the competition's third qualifying round, with Wednesday's first leg in Glasgow.

And the winner of the tie will face Sweden's Malmo or Hungarian outfit MOL Vidi should they get that far.

"Every single game you have expectations when you play at Celtic, expectations to win every game," said defender Ajer, 20.

"Of course we know it will always be difficult. Athens is a great team so we just have to take it one game at a time to reach [the group stage]."

With Celtic having to win an extra round, four in total, to reach the Champions League group stage compared to the past two seasons, Ajer said it is a "tough way to get through".

But the Norwegian defender does not believe simply reaching the group stage is an achievement, saying that is the target for the squad every season.

"It's what we aim and train so hard for in the pre-season period," he said. "We know it will be tough every single year, we played Rosenberg, we played Alashkert [before]. On Wednesday we play another great team again.

"It's tough but what you expect - it's the Champions League, the best teams in the world."

Celtic opened the defence of their Scottish Premiership title with a 3-1 win at home to promoted Livingston on Saturday and visit Hearts on Saturday at lunchtime after Wednesday's meeting with AEK.

"There's a big game coming up every third day and you have to be ready for that," Ajer added. "You don't have the opportunity to test and think about the last game. There's already a big game coming up on Wednesday."

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